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  • Date: 31/08/2023

Honeycomb Group launch specialist project for people impacted by psychoactive substances in Stoke-on-Trent

We’re excited to share that Honeycomb Group’s homelessness charity, Concrete, has secured funding to deliver specialist support to users of psychoactive substances, including monkey dust, across Stoke-on-Trent.

Today, Concrete launches ‘SPHERE’ (Supporting Psychoactive substance users into Housing by Enabling Recovery and Empowerment), a new project that will provide support and accommodation to local users of psychoactive drugs.

The project, funded by the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities (OHID), will build on Concrete’s existing services, which currently support over 150 men, women and young people impacted by homelessness and complex needs across the city.

The aim of SPHERE is to improve access to accommodation, alongside substance use treatment, for users of psychoactive drugs. Concrete recognises a need for this support, with many individuals excluded from housing options due to challenging behaviour that is caused by substance use.

SPHERE will consist of a new team of specialist workers, all with expertise in substance use and homelessness. They will help users access and maintain secure and safe housing and support them as they engage in substance use treatment.

As well as working directly with individuals, Concrete will also identify gaps in support and contribute to wider sector research around use of the drug in Stoke-on-Trent.

Honeycomb Group Chief Executive, Julie Guildford Smith, believes the project will have a ‘positive impact’ across the city.

She said: “At Honeycomb Group, we know that happy homes mean happy futures. Without somewhere safe and secure to live, it’s difficult to make any kind of progress towards a new chapter. That’s why SPHERE is so important in breaking the vicious cycle of homelessness that psychoactive substance users often experience.

“We’re thrilled to have secured funding from the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities (OHID), via Stoke-on-Trent City Council, to deliver this exciting new project. I'm sure many will agree that the project is needed and that it will create a positive impact across our local neighbourhoods. We're grateful to the city council for their support.”

Concrete Operations Manager, Rachael Quarmby (pictured above), will lead the project.

She added: “SPHERE will act as a highly specialist and focused service that will work with individuals across Stoke-on-Trent who are active users of psychoactive substances. We understand that for many individuals, their ability to engage in substance use treatment is held back by their need for stable and secure housing.

“A safe and secure home, free of substances, is key for engaging with services and beginning a journey towards recovery. That’s why we’ll aim to improve access to a safe home alongside treatment and make sure that support is in place to maintain this.

“Individuals engaging with SPHERE will be provided with a safe and secure home, alongside a bespoke support plan. This will involve a package of treatment and recovery interventions, all available locally.”

Click here to find out more about SPHERE.